Impact Dakota Blog is a blog dedicated to supporting North Dakota’s manufacturing community improve People, Purpose, Processes and Performance. Entries provide information on opportunities, new ideas, quick tips, celebrations of success, and well, frankly, anything to help you become a better manufacturer.

November 16, 2023

Technology-driven market intelligence (TDMI) is a technology acceleration service developed for the MEP National Network™ by RTI International to help small and medium-sized manufacturers refine their strategic direction and market validation. This helps firms stay competitive and grow their businesses. Market research and a proper TDMI assessment require significant time and expertise you may not have in-house. Your local MEP Center has access to internal and third-party experts who can deliver this service. It has the experts that can gather, sort, and analyze data on your customer preferences, competitor activities, and technological advancements.

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November 14, 2023

Illuminating Possibilities to Achieve ISO CertificationWhen Enova Illumination Vice President of Operations Jeremy Ward contacted Enterprise Minnesota, part of the MEP National Network™, the company had been using an older quality management system (QMS) based on ISO 13485. It needed to refresh its internal documentation and processes to be compliant to the current standard and more effective for the way the business was operating today. Enterprise Minnesota consultant Ally Johnston was brought in to conduct a lean assessment of the organization and create a roadmap of opportunities for improvement as Enova Illumination sought to become ISO 13485:2016 compliant, with a future goal of gaining this valuable medical device certification. Results of this engagement included $3,000,000 in new or retained sales, 15 created or retained jobs and $250,000 in new investment.

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October 30, 2023

Infographic – Integrating Cybersecurity With Industry 4.0: What It Means for ManufacturingDid you know that manufacturing is now the most targeted industry for cyber attacks? The average cost of a data breach for a small business is $105,000. Can your firm absorb that cost? Can you risk the down time and the damage that a data breach would cause your business? A new infographic details some of the risks posed by Industry 4.0 technologies and actions that manufacturers can take to protect themselves from a cyber attack. It also provides examples of how MEP Centers work with manufacturers to find solutions to their unique cybersecurity challenges.

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October 26, 2023

10 Ways TWI Supports Employee Engagement and RetentionWorkforce challenges these days are never-ending, not just for manufacturers but across the business spectrum. You may have an old standby in your workforce toolbox that addresses manufacturing-specific issues while also arming your new leaders with skills to meet current workforce challenges. Training Within Industry (TWI) has been around since the 1940s, and it is designed to expand supervisor knowledge in ways that help your business drive continuous improvement. Learn how two elements of TWI – job relations (JR) and job instruction (JI) – impact engagement and retention with this blog from Phil Chadderdon with VMEC, the Vermont MEP Center.

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October 16, 2023

Find Unique Workforce Solutions for Your Firm: A New Interactive Map Showcases MEP National Network Workforce Programs, Services and TrainingsHow can small firms without in-house expertise help their staff learn new skills? It’s not easy when resources are tight and staff are pulled in a million directions. Manufacturers face worker shortages, skills gaps and other workforce challenges that limit their productivity and growth. MEP Centers around the country help manufacturers fill those gaps and find unique workforce solutions based on each firm’s needs. A new interactive map, MEP National Network Workforce Programs, Services and Trainings, showcases these efforts across the country. This map complements a recently published list detailing ways that Centers are helping manufacturers overcome workforce challenges. These tools provide information about workforce offerings at MEP Centers in each state and Puerto Rico.

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October 6, 2023

Building the Future Workforce on Manufacturing Day, Oct. 6Manufacturing Day (MFG Day) is a nationwide annual event and offers unique opportunities for the public to gain insights into the world of modern manufacturing. Manufacturing has come a long way from the dark, dirty factories of the past. Today, it’s a dynamic industry that blends cutting-edge technology, innovation and sustainability. MFG Day showcases career opportunities and exciting advancements in the field. From 3D printing to robotics, participants get firsthand exposure to the high-tech, automated processes that drive modern manufacturing.

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September 20, 2023

How You Can Make ‘Made in America’ Cool AgainIn a world where products from every corner of the globe flood our markets, the allure of locally made items, specifically ‘Made in America,’ is experiencing a resurgence. The charm of homegrown craftsmanship, the reassurance of quality, and the boost to our economy are some compelling reasons to rekindle our love affair with products made on American soil.

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August 29, 2023

Manufacturing Day: Changing People’s PerceptionsManufacturing Day, or MFG Day, has grown to mean many things since it was officially proclaimed in 2012. Some celebrate on the first Friday in October with an event at a manufacturing facility or a school. Others participate in a regional celebration at an events center. Some areas have a Manufacturing Week, with multiple touch points, while others celebrate Manufacturing Month. No matter how it’s being celebrated, we can all agree that MFG Day is a great rallying point to change people’s perceptions about manufacturing and promote careers that depend on creativity, problem-solving, teamwork and technology. Let’s look at a couple ways the MEP National Network has been involved in MFG Day.

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August 21, 2023

Have Lemons? Make Lemonade!Amazing stories of manufacturer resilience is inspiration for us all. Here are two of the many manufacturers that faced the pandemic’s challenges head on – creating new paths and sustainable opportunities for themselves over the past several years.

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August 10, 2023

Needs and Opportunities in the Semiconductor Manufacturing SectorIn 2022, President Biden signed into law the bipartisan CHIPS and Science Act – an investment to strengthen U.S. manufacturing, supply chains and our national security. The CHIPS and Science Act provides funding for Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) Centers to deliver services for workforce development, improve the resiliency of domestic supply chains, and adopt advanced technology upgrades at small and medium-sized manufacturers (SMMs).

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